The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, April 23, 2019

16th Century Table, Sold in 1989 for 6,000 Pounds, Estimated Now to Sell for 1 Million
Italian Engraved Ivory Inlaid Rosewood Centre Table made for the Duke of Urbino Francesco Maria II Della Rovere (1549-1631), c 1596-7, and subsequently part of the collection of the Medici family. Est: £500,000-1,000,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- On Tuesday 6th July 2010, Sotheby’s London will offer for sale a remarkable example of 16th-century craftsmanship – an Italian rosewood table, inlaid with ivory and finely engraved. In 1989 this same piece sold at auction for £6,000. More recent research by Sotheby’s specialists has revealed that in fact the table has a history and provenance befitting of its quality: newly-discovered documents reveal that this remarkable piece was once part of the legendary Medici family collection. The table will now be offered with an estimate of £500,000 – 1,000,000.

Probably made by a German craftsman working for the noble families in Italy, the table was commissioned some time between 1596 and 1598 by the Duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria II della Rovere (1549-1631). The circumstances behind the commission are poignant: Francesco was born blessed with what, in 16th century Italy, was considered good looks, intelligence strength and courage, but after a brief moment of freedom and youthful indulgence in Spain in the 1560s, he was promised in marriage Lucrezia d’Este, a princess of exceptional noble lineage, but a woman some 15 years his senior. Their loveless match did not produce the heirs their parents had hoped for and Lucrezia died childless in 1598. One year later, Fransceso married his sweet-heart cousin Livia della Rovere, and this table, together with a matching cabinet now in the Urbino Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, with their intertwining oak leaves, may well have been commissioned to celebrate the occasion.

Their marriage produced a son, Federico Ubaldo, who in turn married into the Medici family. His daughter, Vittoria della Rovere, was born in 1623 and it was to her that Franceso bequeathed the table. He sent it to her in Florence just months before he died, knowing that when he passed away Urbino would be taken over by the Church and would no longer enjoy the independence and freedoms of his rule.

His note to Vittoria, sent with the table and other precious things, is full of sadness: “I am sending to Your Highness all the jewels that remain in this house, after so much misfortune; and I am sending them to you whilst I am still alive because after my death who knows what will happen, Your Highness should receive them willingly as a demonstration of my affection poured out for you, and in your time may they adorn you; remembering first to adorn your soul with those virtues that are appropriate for ladies of your rank, and which make you ever more dear to your husband, his Serene Highness. And I kiss your hands.”

The table remained in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence until the death of Vittoria in 1694. It then passed to her second son, Cardinal Francesco Maria de’ Medici. After this, all trace of the table was lost until it reappeared, some twenty years ago1, in a Christie’s auction, whence it had been consigned by the descendents of Charles Butler, whose collection also included, for instance, Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge), as well as pictures by Rubens, Bellini and others, many of which now hang in major national museums.

Other lots in the sale include Royal Pliants made for Queen Marie Antoinette’s Salon des Jeux at the Château de Compliègne (est. £150,000-250,000), The Baron Lionel de Rothschild Drinking Cups (ests. £60,000-80,000 and £70,000-90,000), an Armorial Casket bearing the arms of Prince William IV of Orange and Anne, Princess Royal of Great Britain (est. £200,000-300,000), Great Silver Wine Cistern of Thomas Wentworth, bearing the arms of Queen Anne (est. £1,500,000 – 2,000,000) a Boulle Secrétaire companion to the one in the British Royal Collections (est. £600,000-1,000,000), a Table for the 3rd Duke of Devonshire (est. £200,000-400,000), a Gold, Agate and Ormolu Musical Automaton Clock (est. £200,000-300,000), and The Stowe State Bedchamber Mirrors (est. £300,000-500,000).

Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman Europe, who has spearheaded the sale, describes what first triggered the idea: “Someone asked me once: what makes something a treasure? I thought about it.... In my world, the world of objects, a treasure would be something which is not only beautiful, precious, rare and hidden, but which also tells a captivating story. These are the kind of pieces that provoke an almost visceral reaction when we look at them. It struck me that, in the general course of life, encounters with real treasures happen all too rarely. And so I made it my job to set about finding them. Now, with this sale, we have 21 works of art to which I feel the term treasure can justly apply. It is more than many might hope to see in one place in a lifetime.”

Sotheby's | 16th Century Table | Mario Tavella |

Today's News

July 6, 2010

Saatchi Gallery Brings Together this Year’s Selection of Leading and Emerging Korean Artists

Sotheby's to Sell Contrasting Depictions of Victorian London

An Intimate Look Into the Most Controversial Band in Rock History

Arne Quinze Builds a New Installation on a Bridge in Rouen

Art Institute Exhibition Reveals Facets of Louis Sullivan's Architecture

16th Century Table, Sold in 1989 for 6,000 Pounds, Estimated Now to Sell for 1 Million

Monet and Abstraction Now on View at Musée Marmottan Monet

Bonhams to Sell Personal Items Relating to Indian Mutiny

The Music Photography of James Hamilton Edited by Thurston Moore

Three Floors of Historic Automobiles and Automobilia at the New Lowman Museum

INAH Submerged Archaeology Documentary Season at MNA

Detailed Drawing of London's Old St. Paul's Cathedral, to Be Sold at Sotheby's

Roger Ballen's Pictorial Scenes on View at Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels

Interview with Christian Caujolle "The Idea is to Try to Make Us Perceive What Mysticism is"

Larger-than-Life Sea Creatures Come to Bellevue Arts Museum

Mike Weiss Gallery Showing Group Exhibition "Reflexive Self"

First UK Exhibition by Colombian Artist Mateo López at Gasworks

Recent Works by Yuan Yuan at Chambers Fine Art

Bruno Serralongue. Feux de camp on View at Jeu da Paume

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Apple releases Spring 2019 iPhone cases and watch bands with 'Delft Blue' color in the lead

2.- Star Trek: Year Five #1 original cover art by Greg Hildebrandt Surfaces at Heritage Auctions

3.- Guitars of the greats rock halls of New York's Met museum

4.- Historic jewels and exceptional gemstones highlight Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Auction

5.- French museum renames masterpieces after black subjects

6.- Heathrow Terminal 5 exhibits skeleton of new species of dinosaur

7.- Missing Rubens sketch goes for $1.4 mn at auction

8.- The Museo del Prado opens 'Giacometti in the Museo del Prado'

9.- Inrap archaeologists discover an Etruscan tomb in a hypogeum in Aleria

10.- Picasso in Ivory Coast? A village tells of its brush with the artist

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Sotheby's New York to offer The Andy Williams Collection of Navajo blankets in May 2012

Buhl Collection brings $12.3M - Highest ever total for a private collection of photos sold at auction

'Casablanca' piano sells in NY for more than $600K

No bidder found for letters by 'Peanuts' creator

Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Sotheby's announces first ever selling exhibition of contemporary art from central Asia and the Caucasus

Mick Jagger love letters written to American singer Marsha Hunt sold at London auction

House of Illustration raises 68,750 in "What are they like?" Celebrity Auction at Sotheby's London

Swiss contemporary art generates enthusiasm among collectors at Sotheby's

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful